Reports

Direct Observation of Heterogeneous Chemistry in the Atmosphere

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Science  20 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5354, pp. 1184-1187
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5354.1184

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Abstract

The heterogeneous replacement of chloride by nitrate in individual sea-salt particles was monitored continuously over time in the troposphere with the use of aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Modeling calculations show that the observed chloride displacement process is consistent with a heterogeneous chemical reaction between sea-salt particles and gas-phase nitric acid, leading to sodium nitrate production in the particle phase accompanied by liberation of gaseous HCl from the particles. Such single-particle measurements, combined with a single-particle model, make it possible to monitor and explain heterogeneous gas/particle chemistry as it occurs in the atmosphere.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: glen{at}eql.caltech.edu; prather{at}citrus.ucr.edu

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